Sale left last night’s start in the fourth inning as his velocity was dropping. The Sox announced afterwards that he’d head for imaging. Sale addressed the Boston beat this evening, saying it’ll be around a week before he receives an official diagnosis (via Chris Cotillo of MassLive). He said he doesn’t believe he’ll require surgery but it looks unlikely he’ll be back when first eligible a couple weeks from now.
Injuries have become unfortunately familiar for Sale over the past few years. One of the sport’s most durable arms between 2012-18, he’s battled health concerns since entering his 30s. He lost all of 2020 and most of ’21 to Tommy John surgery. Sale’s 2022 campaign was marred by a number of issues. He lost the first half of the year to a stress reaction in his ribs. Two starts into his return, he fractured a finger on his throwing hand when he was struck by a comebacker. Sale’s season officially ended in August when he broke his wrist in a bicycle accident.
This year’s 59 innings are already the most he’s logged since 2019. The seven-time All-Star has a middling 4.58 ERA through 11 starts. His underlying numbers are quite a bit better. Sale has punched out 28.5% of opponents and kept his walk rate to a tidy 6%. He’d had the results to match in May, posting a 2.42 ERA while holding batters to a .183/.224/.355 line in 26 frames.
Boston will have to proceed without arguably their best starter for at least two weeks. The Sox have run with Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello and James Paxton alongside Sale in the rotation. Kluber and Nick Pivetta each recently moved from the starting five to the bullpen. One of that duo — presumably Kluber, the more recent of the two to slide to relief — is likely to step back into the rotation.